February 2021 Update

Civics Cup 2021
The 3rd Annual Civics Cup coming up on March 7, 2021 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. with  Bromfield students grades 8-12. This year the event will be virtual via Zoom because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

Civics Cup team members will still get the signature blue T-shirts as well as gift bags filled with goodies. Prizes will be from The Harvard General Store, The Westside Creamery, and The Silver Unicorn, all of whom have pandemic contactless curbside service.

The sign up deadline for Civics Cup teams is February 24.

The public will not be able to play along this year but we have planned other fun ways residents, friends, and family can participate. Stay tuned for details.

We will still have adult Liaisons assigned to each Civics Cup team, so if you were a Liaison last year, expect a call. If you want to be a Team Liaison, send an email to info@lwvharvard.org and we’ll add your name to the list. 

Webinar on Short Notice
The LWV of Lexington is hosting Carol Rose, the executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts tomorrow, Feb. 5 at 9:30 a.m. for a webinar entitled “Post 2020 Election Review.”  For more information about the webinar, go to:  www.lwvlexington.org/FirstFriday.html. The event is free and open to the public and will be recorded and available on LexMedia at a later date.

The ACLU has been involved in voting rights, reproductive rights, gender rights, freedom of speech rights, and other rights.  It is a non-partisan non-profit.

Meetings, Meetings, When are the Meetings?
The programs committee of the LWVH recently sent an email survey to all of our League members to determine topic interest for future programs. We hope you took some time to respond to share your preferences. Look for future program offerings based on the survey responses. Because of the ongoing pandemic, our activities are virtual and will continue to be so until it is safe to meet otherwise. Maybe by the time of our next annual Flea Market in October??

The LWVH steering committee continues to meet regularly via zoom on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted. All members may attend and any member may request the zoom link, by sending an email to info@lwvharvard.org.

Our website, www.lwvharvard.org, is under construction. But in addition to the fun sizzle reel celebrating the 100th anniversary of the women’s voting rights, the homepage now has a handy Google calendar that lists our meetings and other activities.

Our next Steering Committee meeting will be held on Friday, February 12 at 7 p.m. (rescheduled from Wednesday, February 10 due to conflicts). Please email info@lwvharvard.org to request the zoom link to the meeting.

Drama in our Democracy
The drama in our democracy continues as we write this. The US LWV supports the impeachment of former President Donald J. Trump, and encourages voters to contact their Senators to make their personal views on the matter known.

For the People Act
The US League is also looking beyond the impeachment and conviction proceedings to support the “For the People Act”, a national voting reform bill introduced as H.R. 1 for consideration of the 117th Congress (2021-2022).“The For the People Act is the democracy reform bill the American people want and deserve. This legislation will put power back into the hands of American voters by making voting easier and more accessible and by modernizing future elections. Over the last two years, we saw it pass the House or Representatives, but get stalled at the Senate. With the start of the 117th Congress it is imperative that the For the People Act once more become a top priority. The For the People Act addresses some of the most pressing issues facing our democracy because it will:
 Restore the Voting Rights Act Modernize our voter registration systemUpdate the public financing of elections through small donor matching fundsCurb partisan gerrymandering, andMake campaign contributions more transparent.”                                                                                                                —LWV US

Transparency in Massachusetts
On a more local front, some progress is being made on the issue of transparency in MA state government. The LWV of Massachusetts is encouraged that the new Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano is open to rules changes. He has already made two changes that improve the bill filing process by extending the filing date from January 15 to February 19, and allowing legislators to sign on as co-sponsors of House bills until those bills are reported out of joint committee rather than cutting off the co-sponsor opportunity at the filing deadline. 

The Speaker has also ordered the House Rules Committee to study the chamber’s rules “to ensure efficiency and transparency in the legislative process and in the administration of the House of Representatives.” The committee is to report back with suggested changes by July 1. LWVMA will submit our recommendations for such changes to the Rules Committee, drawing from our support of rules changes in January 2019 (below) and our testimony and that of Common Cause and the ACLU to a select committee evaluating rules in 2018.  

Common sense changes in the Legislative rules originally asked for by the League in January 2019:

  • Provide 72 hours for legislators to read bills before floor vote
  • Provide 30 minutes for legislators to read amendments before floor vote
  • Provide 24 hours for committee members to read bill redrafts before committee vote
  • Allow for the discharge of bills that have substantial legislator support from joint committees
  • Require that written testimony and other documents provided to committees be made available to lawmakers and the public
  • Require that all committee votes are publicly available within 48 hours of votes taken
  • Create standards for staff, office, and resource allocations and make the standards publicly available

Got A Gripe? Want to Know?

Reminder: Any member of the LWV Harvard is welcome to drop a line to info@lwvharvard to voice an opinion, ask a question, or request information.

Stay safe and well,
Your League Co-Conveners,
Jackie Normand and Meg Bagdonas